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There are hundreds of small business owners in the Lowcountry, solo entrepreneurs, family-run organizations, larger companies with management teams and even some that have boards.

Together, they drive the vast majority of our economy since we don’t have government branches, military bases and only a few institutions that provide employment in our region. Most cater to local needs but some do the inverse, meaning they are located here but their customer base is not local.

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marc lastcallAs Hilton Head Monthly celebrates its 30th anniversary, it seems appropriate to contemplate what the next three decades have in store.

It’s hard to believe that 30 years ago, the following things did not dominate our daily lives: cellphones, emails, portable personal computers that connect via Wi-Fi nearly everywhere, high-definition TV with hundreds of channels, and the Internet that ushered in the connectivity revolution.

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The flight that changed our destiny:

Swissair flight 204 ZRH – ATL August 10. 1987

In the summer of 1987 our workload did not allow us to make any vacation plans in advance. So when my wife and I found a 10-day window in our schedule we had to make up our mind quickly. Swissair just started a new daily flight from Zurich to Atlanta. Discovering a new part of the USA sounded interesting. The next day we boarded the plane and crossed the Atlantic. Upon arrival we picked up our rental car and drove down to the coast. A friend told us we should visit Hilton Head Island, where we had a reservation at a hotel on the beach. How are we going to find the hotel my wife asked? Don’t worry there will be a big red neo sign…

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Growing up in Zurich, Switzerland, I was fortunate to have public drinking fountains strategically placed on my walk to school, on my bike ride to the soccer field or when accompanying my mother to the farmers market. To be exact, there are 1,200 water fountains in operation still today.

So the idea of paying for drinking water is quite foreign to me and I stare with disbelief at consumers who schlepp cartons full of plastic containers filled with filtered tap water to the trunk of their cars.

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If we put the interests of the American people first, we can lead our nation to a path of sustainable prosperity & security and become a role model for the world

Poll after poll confirms that the majority of Americans believe the nation is headed in the wrong direction.

It can be argued that since the end of the Cold War about 25 years ago, our thinking has not been clear enough — our leaders too narrowminded, our policies too small and our actions too short-sighted — to fully understand what is happening and come up with a clear vision of how to address it.

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What happens if you fill a room with highly educated and intellectually curious people? Does the combined IQ coefficient cancel itself out or does it elevate the discussions to a higher level?

After attending three days packed with presentations, storytelling and conversations, to me the answer is clear: It seems to lift everybody up a notch. Suddenly I felt smarter, more knowledgeable, more inspired and more empowered than before I entered the room.

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While planning for my family’s future, I looked up aging tables and I took two different “life expectancy calculator” tests. The results were both good news and shocking at the same time. The general life expectancy has continually been moving up and, as a result, we have to plan for a longer life than the old common wisdom suggested, with all the consequences that come along with it positive, hopeful and scary, depending on your own level of confidence in what aging might mean.

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zurich-church-towersLOCATION: ZURICH, SWITZERLAND IN THE HEART OF THE OLD TOWN
A white light wakes me up in the morning; its color is uniform, making it difficult to guess the actual time. I get up and peak out the window, looking at two large church towers each bearing a grandiose clock on their walls, confirming it is 6:27 a.m. Soon the bells will ring.

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0215-LastCall-CaroonOn a recent trip to Los Angeles, I heard a satirical stand-up comedian say the following (and I’m paraphrasing here): “There are so many different terrorist groups now that we don’t know who to fight any longer. We should let them quarrel among themselves like a knockout round and then fight the winner.”

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I have been asked to give a speech Jan. 20 on the “Risks and Opportunities for the Next Decade for an Island Community,” as part of a speaker series organized by the Heritage Library and Coastal Discovery Museum entitled “Hilton Head in the Modern Era.” (See the ad on page 142).

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David Bennett will be the new mayor of Hilton Head Island. With a 2-to-1 margin, this is not a victory, but a mandate.

It was not a coincidence to discover that many of the most respected community leaders representing the most diverse backgrounds one can think of were supporting Bennett’s quest to become mayor. How diverse you ask? How about people in the fields of architecture, arts, banking, business, land development, education, hospitality, media, nonprofits, politics, real estate, religion, sustainability, volunteer groups and world affairs, just to name a few?

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I had an opportunity to meet with neurosurgeon Rudy Kachmann recently. After an interesting discussion about the effects of living an unhealthy lifestyle, I invited him to write a column on the topic in place of my regular “Last Call.” I hope you find his information as useful as I did.  — Marc Frey

Good lifestyle choices could eliminate most common illnesses.
By Dr. Rudy Kachmann

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An estimated 80 or 90 percent of the time our cars are standing idle in the garage, at work or some other place. This is a huge amount of underutilized capital and physical mass.

In all likelihood, the future of personal transportation will challenge not one but two models we take for granted today: personal possession and human beings behind the wheel.

Over 40,000 people die in road accidents each year in the U.S. and human error, not mechanical failure, causes almost all of them.

Advanced technology will soon make it possible for us to enter a vehicle and punch in the destination, then sit back and watch as the car of the future will take off and safely deliver us at the desired arrival point.

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LANCE-HANLINWith Marc Frey out of the country, this month’s Last Call has transformed into the … LANCE CALL

Last month we asked our readers a question: How can traffic to Hilton Head Island be improved?

The choices were:

  • Do nothing.
  • Widen the current bridge to the island.
  • Build a new bridge to the island.
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